The late Lord Soper was not so much a 'ranting Methody' as a member of the liberal establishment, a mainstay of QT and Any Questions, a prolific columnist and the public face of Methodism. I'd give a lot to be able to hear his views on the new Hungarian constitution. Surely he couldn't argue against the Fidesz party's explicit references to God in the new constitution, nor against the party's "Family, Home, Work, Health and Order" mantra that saw it elected with over a two-thirds majority? Or perhaps he could.
Fidesz doesn't particularly like Islam. Nor is it keen on the US cults now making inroads into Eastern Europe - the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Scientologists. So part of the new constitution is a restriction that limits the benefits enjoyed by churches to those which have been active in Hungary for at least ten years and have at least 1,000 members. Others are not illegal, you understand, just unable to enjoy the same tax breaks and benefits as the Catholics and the Jews. Amongst the religions unable to meet the bar are the Methodists. I'm sure Donald Soper could have made a case that this was de facto illegality, but it just scrapes inside the provisions of the European Convention with regard to Freedom of Religion. And this is typical of much of the new Magyar constitution; you have the feeling they wanted to go further. Requiring all media to register with the government, including those with an exclusively online presence, is just a fag paper away from requiring bloggers to obtain State licences and a potential breach of Freedom of Expression provisions.
As in previous posts on this, I'm not condemning Fidesz. I'm just uneasy.